Raymond Group’s managing director and chairman, Gautam Singhania, had recently posted a picture with his parents on Instagram and the caption said, he was ‘overwhelmed’ to have spent ‘quality time’ with his parents. Social media was abuzz with speculations of a possible truce between Singhania and his father Vijaypat Singhania. The latter had accused his son of ousting him from the role of chairman emeritus and also having forcibly taken away a bulk of his property. At his office in his luxurious home (J.K. House) in South Mumbai, Singhania says, “No comments”, when asked about the legal battles he is fighting with his father. “Every family has issues…it is what it is,” is his blunt response.

On the business front, Singhania is getting ready to hand over the reign of his business to a team of professional managers. The company has recently hired Coca-Cola Company’s former Asia-Pacific chairman, Atul Singh, as executive vice-chairman. Earlier in the year, it hired Sunil Kataria (formerly business head, India and Saarc, Godrej Consumer Products) from Godrej as CEO of its lifestyle business. “We have to create an organisation which is self-sustaining. I am also growing older and my kids are too young to take over the business, and it is important to distinguish between shareholders and management,” says Singhania.

The 56-year-old entrepreneur says that professionals are joining at every level and the aim is to continuously improve the quality of people in order to build a strong organisation. Does he plan to take a backseat? “I will not take a back seat, I will change what I do. I am not going to be in day-day-to operations after a period of time, but certainly, the vision and strategy is something I will be involved in,” says Singhania.

Like most lifestyle businesses, Raymond was also severely hit during the pandemic. Singhania says the company has reset close to ₹700 crore of costs in order to bring the business back in line. “Whether it was letting people go, looking at how we manufacture, closing non-profitable stores, we took a lot of steps to cut costs. Dire circumstances create dire actions.” Even prior to the pandemic, the company was grappling with a low single-digit growth rate but Singhania says that the past is behind them and expects 15% year-on-year growth from now on.

In FY22, the company posted consolidated revenues of ₹6,348 crore, with branded textiles being the largest contributor (₹2,789 crore). Raymond’s diverse businesses include retail, FMCG, real estate, education and engineering products. Singhania is particularly excited about the real estate business, which he has recently forayed into.

“Raymond has a significant land bank (over 100 acres) in Thane, which we were earlier trying to sell off to monetise, but that didn’t happen, so we decided to monetise it ourselves,” explains Singhania. He says that while their own projects include the 10X Habitat (which include 3,100 apartments) and Address By GS, which has 580 apartments, the real estate division has also started taking general development projects.

The company has also forayed into the B2B edtech space with the launch of Quest+. It is also expanding its network of K12 schools into other cities and tier 2-3 towns through the management contract model. It has recently opened a school in Tirupati.

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